Updated 08/27/18: Mark Gurman of Bloomberg News has weighed in with his often-accurate roundup of what to expect at next month’s iPhone event.
Now that we’re well into 2018, rumors about the next iPhone have started to pile up. We’ll keep track of everything that’s being said and analyze what seems feasible in this article so you can keep up with the latest iPhone gossip.
Bloomberg: New names, new colors, new cameras
In what has become an annual tradition, Bloomberg News has chimed in with his well-sourced prediction of what will happen at Apple’s September iPhone event. While there aren’t a ton of new details about the devices, he confirms much of what we knew about the new phones:
- There will be three new models, with the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch being OLED, and the 6.1-inch model sticking to LCD like the iPhone 8.
- The 6.1-inch model will have an aluminum frame versus the stainless steel one on the iPhone X, and come in an array of colors.
- All three phones will be equipped with Apple’s TrueDepth camera and Face ID unlocking system.
- Some international models will have dual-SIM slots.
- Apple will likely call the new phones iPhone Xs and may dump the “Plus” moniker on the largest model.
- The processing speeds and camera will be the biggest improvements over last year’s iPhone X.
- The 6.5-inch model will have “the ability to view content side-by-side in apps like Mail and Calendar.”
Plausible? Absolutely. There isn’t much here we don’t already know from prior rumors and Bloomberg News is generally extremely accurate, especially when reporting a rumor this close to an event.
German carriers say iPhone pre-orders to begin on September 14
German site Macerkopf has information sourced from German carriers that Apple and carriers will begin taking preorders for the new iPhones on September 14. This gives us a good hint as to when the new models will be announced, as preorders typically begin just a few days after the announcement event.
Plausible? Definitely. For the last several years, the new iPhones have been announced on the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday of September. We have long suspected that this year’s event will happen on Tuesday, September 11, though the association with that date may lead Apple hold the event on September 12 instead.
Either way, it makes perfect sense for iPhone preorders to begin a few days later, on Friday at midnight, as they typically do.
More efficient wireless charging with copper coils
This rumor was reported on August 20, 2018.
China Times has a report that claims, according to their supply chain sources, that at least one of the new iPhone models introduced this year will feature wireless charging coil made of copper.
The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X support wireless charging up to 7.5 watts using the Qi charging standard. They feature ferrite polymer composite (FPC) coils—a thin membrane composed of a plastic-metal hybrid. It’s inexpensive and thin, but offers more resistance than a pure copper coil.
A copper coil would be a tiny bit thicker, but copper offers lower electrical resistance. That means more efficient wireless charging with less heat.
Plausible? Apple’s always trying to make its phones thinner, so a slightly thicker charging coil seems like something it wouldn’t pursue. However, the difference in thickness could be only a fraction of a millimeter, and there may be enough room in the new phones for it. The Qi standard is flexible, with a maximum charge rate of 15 watts, but charging at that speed would generate too much heat with the current coils. A copper coil would let Apple charge wirelessly at a faster rate while generating the same heat as current iPhones. Or, Apple may stick to a 7.5-watt limit, relying on the copper coil to keep things cool and reliable.
Apple to supercharge OLED models with Pencil support and 512GB
This rumor was reported on August 14, 2018.
Industry analyst Trendforce is easing into the 2018 iPhone rumor waters with a new report. As spotted by 9to5Mac, Trendforce offers two new predictions for the high-end 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED models. First, it believes that they will come in three storage tiers now, topping off at 512GB rather than 256GB. Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy Note 9 also includes at 512GB option. However, while Samsung’s phone also comes with an additional 2GB of RAM, Trendforce says Apple will stick with 4GB of RAM for all capacities of the OLED phones.
In addition to the capacity bump, Trendforce also predicts that Apple will bring Pencil support to the iPhone for the first time. Apple’s $99 stylus has thus far been limited to the iPad and iPad Pro, so bringing it to the iPhone would represent a shift in Apple’s strategy.
Plausible? Apple often changes iPhone storage options based on the price and volume availability of flash memory chips. With the iPhone 8 and X, it doubled the low-end capacity over 2017’s iPhones from 32GB to 64GB and eliminated the 128GB option, so a higher-priced 512GB model in 2018 seems perfectly plausible. Demand likely wouldn’t be too high, but the extra space will be worth the higher price to power users since the iPhone doesn’t have expandable storage like Android phones.
Pencil support is equally intriguing. It seems logical that Apple would add support for its stylus, but it likely wouldn’t keep it current design. As things stand, the Apple Pencil is specifically designed for use on the iPad’s significantly larger screen, so Apple would need to produce a new model with a smaller tip and form factor.
Dual-SIM iPhones on the way
The fifth beta of iOS 12 went out to developers on July 30 and it only took one day for the tipsters at 9to5Mac to spot an intriguing bit of code that points to dual-SIM enabled hardware on the way.
In part of the system responsible for generating diagnostic reports, there are references to “secondSimStatus” and “secondSimTrayStatus.” Elsewhere, another component has an “isDualSimDevice” reference.
Plausible? There have been rumors of dual-SIM iPhones in the works for years. In many countries where smartphone use is growing the fastest, it’s a lot cheaper to have one SIM with a pay-as-you-go talk plan and other data-only SIM. Some customers won’t consider a phone that doesn’t have that capability.
Perhaps having two modem vendors with different capabilities has made this challenging in the past, and the change is being enabled by the switch to a single modem vendor? Or maybe Apple has never wanted to give up the space for two SIM slots, but a move to eSIM would let them have a primary internal eSIM and a secondary SIM in a tray? Either way, this rumor looks pretty likely. It’s hard to think that this code references anything else.
What we don’t know is exactly which iPhone model(s) may get dual-SIM support. It could be only for a future iPhone SE replacement, for example, or it may be available on higher-end iPhones but only in certain countries where dual SIMs are popular.
6.1-inch LCD iPhone may launch after the OLED models
This rumor was reported on July 25, 2018.
A new report from Barron’s cites an analysis from Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty in expecting relatively weak September iPhone sales compared to most years. The reason? While the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch high-end iPhones with OLED screens are expected to launch in September as usual, the 6.1-inch LCD model may suffer a small delay.
Huberty’s report says, “uspected issues with LED backlight leakage” are to blame for the small delay. Apple is trying to give the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone the same curve-hugging, super-slim bezel design as the OLED models (only with a very slightly thicker bezel). That’s creates big technical challenges with the location fo the display controller and backlight leakage around the edges.
This is actually an improvement, according to Huberty. According to her report, suppliers originally expected a six week delay on that model, forcing it to launch in November, perhaps even later than the iPhone X did last year.
Plausible? A small delay for one product in Apple’s lineup isn’t unheard of, and creating an iPhone X-like form factor with an LCD screen is a big challenge for a company as famously fussy about display quality as Apple. Still, when you start predicting iPhone release dates, anything can happen.
All three front glass panels leaked
This rumor was reported on July 17, 2018.
As we count the days to the new iPhone’s expected September unveiling, Twitter user Ben Geskin has seemingly spilled the beans for all to see. A new photo reportedly shows off the front panel for all three iPhones, letting you easily see the size difference between the 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch models. Of note, the rumored LCD model has slightly thicker bezels all around, but all three feature the same iPhone X-inspired design, with no home button and a camera notch at the top of the screen.
Plausible? We’ve been hearing for a while now that the 2018 iPhone will come in three sizes, and this leak certainly fits that narrative. It makes sense for Apple to go all-in on the design introduced with the iPhone X as quickly as possible as iOS shifts to a more gesture-based navigation without a home button. Previous rumors have pegged the 6.1-inch middle model as the cheapest of the lot, and if true, we expect it to sell as fast as Apple can make it, and maybe even faster.
New iPhone to come in bold new colors
With just a couple months to go until the new iPhones are unveiled, Ming-Chi Kuo is providing some new details on the upcoming models. While confirming the pricing of a $700 LCD low-end model and a $999 6.5-inch flagship, he also spills some details on the different versions that will release. For one, the 6.5-inch iPhone will be available in gold (a color that’s available on the iPhone 8 but not the iPhone X). But it’s the 6.1-inch model that’s most interesting: According to Kuo, it will come in five colors: grey, white, blue, red and orange. The current iPhone 8 comes in just three colors: space grey, silver, and gold, so this would represent quite a change.
Plausible? Sure, why not? Apple introduced the “unapologetically plastic” iPhone 5c five years ago in green, blue, yellow, pink, and white to boost sales and visibility of the handset, so it wouldn’t be a complete departure to do the same thing this year. Apple will likely position the 6.1-inch iPhone similarly to the iPhone 5c as both a new model and a cheaper alternative to the high-end phones, so a bunch of colors would help distinguish the lines. Plus, who doesn’t want an orange iPhone?
USB-C Power adapter photos leaked
This rumor was reported on July 2, 2018.
The Chinese site Chongdiantou has what it claims are early images from someone in Apple’s supply chain of the USB-C power adapter that is said to ship with this year’s iPhones.
We first reported a rumor about this back in May, and today’s leaked images appear to lend credibility to that initial report.
Plausible? The design of this engineering prototype does match the previous CAD drawings and, more generally, Apple’s style. These things could easily be faked or a case of mistaken identity, but we think this will probably come to pass. Apple’s iPhones have continued to ship with an unsatisfying 5-watt USB-A power adapter, when it’s phones are easily capable of charging much faster. It’s long past time for Apple to replace its power adapter and provide the average user with the much faster charging performance the iPhone is capable of.
iPhone X Plus to cost less than iPhone X
This rumor was reported on June 4, 2018.
Well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often made remarkably accurate predictions based on his supply-chain contacts for analyst firm KGI Securities, is back with a new prediction. He recently left KGI Securities, but has landed at rival firm TF International Securities. This is his first report at that company.
Kuo says that the largest model, the 6.5-inch OLED “iPhone X Plus” (if you will), will cost between $900 and $1000. The 5.8-inch OLED model, similar in size and shape to the current iPhone X, will fall in the $800-900 range. That’s considerably cheaper than this year’s iPhone X, but potentially more expensive than the iPhone 8 Plus, which starts at $799. The LCD-based 6.1-inch model would cost $600-700.
What’s more, Kuo says that he expects Apple to announce all three new phone models at an event in September, with all three shipping to customers in September. This contradicts other rumors that claimed the LCD-based model might not ship until November.
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